Archive for the 'Writing Hints' Category

12 New Short Story Starters

If you are anything like me you are both a writer and a procrastinator.

Ouch.

Let’s be honest now – how many times have you told yourself, “I should be writing?” And then you go and do something else – like water the roses, trim the hedge, check your email, make a coffee, take the dog for a walk.

Until…

Until half the day is gone – and you haven’t written a word. I know that scene far too well. We all do it – unless you are one of those highly self-motivated beings from another planet who can write at the drop of the hat and make great progress all day, every day, month after month.

What can I do to help?

Below is a list of 12 new short story starters in my very popular series of story starters – go to the cloud of topics on the sidebar to access more of the same – or just do a search of this site.

The idea is to read through these ideas, pick one and then start your short story with the words that I have provided. Simple as that. Oh – you might want to read the ‘Conditions of use’ at the end of this post for more ideas.

12 Story Starters

  1. It had never occurred to me that this might be the scariest day of my life.
  2. ‘How could you be so stupid?’ I yelled. ‘The last thing we need right now is to have yet another cat!’
  3. I could see the line of animals steadily coming closer. At first, I thought that they were horses, but as they approached I realised that they were actually camels. At least five camels being led by someone wearing a djellabah.
  4. I instinctively ducked as the plane screamed low overhead. It missed me by barely five metres. The bus coming towards me braked hard, but still the plane ploughed nose first into it.
  5. The children, their scared eyes wide open, instinctively crouched under their tables as the explosions rocked their classroom.
  6. Our canoe slipped silently through a break in the reeds lining the river. We could see our destination ahead.
  7. Silence settled on our cottage as the snow wrapped us up in its soft, chilling beauty. I could tell that this was going to be a long wait.
  8. The almost imperceptible flutter of his hanky, like a small flag unwillingly waved, was the dreaded sign for us to move. I felt my heart thumping, like some demented elephant trampling inside me.
  9. On a better day, Pete might have made a saner choice, but this was turning into a disastrous day, and his brain had long ceased to function normally.
  10. As the ship forged out past the headland, I began to feel free at last. I was no longer under her spell which had kept me almost like a prisoner all those years.
  11. As I opened the door, I was aware of a strange rubbing on my leg. I looked down to see a kitten rubbing against my trouser leg. ‘Where did you come from?’ I asked. The cat didn’t reply.
  12. As the old clock in the hallway struck midnight, I realised that the events of the day would mean I might have trouble getting any sleep at all.

Conditions of use:

  • Feel free to use any of the story starters listed above.
  • Change anything to suit your needs.
  • Give it your best shot.
  • Edit your work carefully before sending it off to a publisher or posting it on your blog.
  • Let me know in the comments section how it went.
  • If you publish your story on your web site or on your blog let me know so I can make a link to it for others to read.
  • Now get writing.

Good writing.

Trevor

Short story starters

Today I have added another set of short story starters.

Just choose one of them and use it as the first sentence in a short story.

1. As Don turned the corner, he was surprised to see who was standing next to his car.

2. Fiona stopped and stared at the bush in the corner of her auntie’s garden.

3. In the rush to get to the football ground in time for the match, Harry had quite forgotten one, extremely important detail.

4. On reflection, Joel should have seen this argument coming.

5. As Lorna hobbled up the path to her front door, she pondered on the events of this important, life-changing day.

6. Twelve years ago Nola would not have reacted in this way, but things had changed – and not for the better.

7. Peta had quite forgotten her father’s advice and blazed ahead regardless.

8. Without a moment’s hesitation Ross slipped the envelope through the slot in the door.

9. As Toni walked across the stage to the lectern, she was sure about only one thing.

10. The clock ticking on the wall reminded Wendy that her time was slipping away rapidly.

You can find more short story starters here and more writing prompts here.

Conditions of use:

  • Feel free to use any of the story starters listed above. Change anything to suit your needs.
  • Give it your best shot.
  • Edit your work carefully before sending it off to a publisher or posting it on your blog.
  • Let me know in the comments section how it went.
  • If you publish your story on your web site or on your blog let me know so I can make a link to it for others to read.

Writing prompt: How’s the serenity?

Laratinga wetlands, Mt Barker, South Australia

Laratinga wetlands, Mt Barker, South Australia

Earlier this week I visited the Laratinga Wetlands on the outskirts of Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. These wetlands are frequently visited by birders like myself because the ponds often teem with birds. I write about my birding experiences and show photos of Australian birds on my site called Trevor’s Birding.

Many people visit the wetlands every day, including walkers, joggers, runners, cyclists and picnickers.

On this occasion it was early on a frosty morning and the water was still quite smooth. The photo above shows this well. This scene – or another similar which you have experienced – could well be an interesting prompt for your writing.

Here are some writing suggestions:

  • Describe the scene in the photo.
  • Imagine yourself in the scene shown in the photo. Why are you there?
  • Write a short story about a very serene place you have visited.
  • Write a poem inspired by the photo.
  • Imagine you are a bird – for example, a duck – living in the pond shown in the photo. Describe a day in your life

Good writing.

Trevor

 

Writing prompt: Storks on the roof

White Stork in Morocco

White Stork in Morocco

A few years ago my  wife, daughter and I travelled through magical Morocco. It was an amazing experience which assaulted the senses in every way. I still look back with amazement at my photos which beautifully encapsulate some of the sensory experiences of that trip.

I also took more than a passing interest in the wildlife, the birds in particular. I write about Australian birds here. In many places we saw plenty of White Storks, shown in the photos above and below. They are amazing birds, and their nests on chimney stacks and on roofs are enormous. They make quite a picture against the sky.

The photos I have included were taken in the village of Ifrane, one of Morocco’s main skiing resorts. That’s snow skiing, by the way. Not many people I know realise that Morocco has extensive snow fields in the Atlas Mountains. The village felt as though we had stepped right into the Swiss Alps, complete with ubiquitous chalets (see last photo).

Writing prompts:

  1. Write about skiing trips you have been on.
  2. Write about the most interesting birds you have ever seen.
  3. Imagine living in a house where a pair of storks have made a nest. Describe your reaction and how they impact your life.
  4. Describe a wild storm which destroys the storks’ nest on your roof. Imagine how you deal with the orphaned chicks. Turn your writing into a short story or a series of poems.
  5. Have you had birds nesting on or near your house such as a tree or bush in your garden? Describe your feelings and how the presence of the birds affected you.
  6. Research the mythology associated with storks and write an article or blog post about them.
  7. Explore the relationship between storks and humans in different cultures and write a short story featuring storks.
  8. Write a series of poems about storks and how they influence or interact with humans.

Good writing.

Trevor

White Storks on nests in Morocco

White Storks on nests in Morocco

Chalet in Ifrane, Morocco

Chalet in Ifrane, Morocco

How to submit your writing to literary journals

Over the last three decades or so I have submitted hundreds of pieces of my writing to a variety of publications and competitions. A reasonably healthy percentage of these have been published or performed. My list of writings have included:

  • poems
  • short stories
  • articles
  • plays
  • songs – well, one song!
  • comedy routines
  • picture books
  • novels
  • teaching materials
  • devotional material

Writing published on my blog sites

In addition to the above figures I have self-published over the last 10 years more than 4000 articles combined here on this writing site, and on my other sites, Trevor’s Birding and Trevor’s Travels and on our church website where I am the webmaster.

That’s a heap of words. And I have many, many more waiting to be sent off to various publications, and heaps more ideas for more stories, novels, poems and articles. Finding a balance between creating new writing and submitting one’s writing is always a fine line to walk.

I must admit that I err too much on the side of not sending out my writing to places where it stands a good chance of being published.

In the light of that last statement I find that it is good to come across an article which outlines some basic reminders of what to look for when preparing a manuscript for submission to a magazine or a literary journal. I recently came across an article titled “7 questions to ask yourself before submitting to literary journals.

It is worth taking a look at; while you are gone I think I will prepare a few submissions of my own. After all, I’ve had a list of them ready for a week now.

Good writing. Good submitting.

Trevor